Where teasing ends and bullying begins

Plague and pestilence. What is the difference and how do you distinguish it? Although teasing is bullying for some people, there is a clear distinction between the two. This is important in the fight against bullying, because bullying is mainly about group dynamics and power relations. Both need to change for bullying to stop. Everything about where teasing ends and bullying begins.

Teasing is not bullying

Although teasing is bullying for some people, there is a clear distinction between the two. Below is a list to indicate where teasing ends and bullying begins.


  1. There are incidents
  2. The parties are evenly matched
  3. There is no winner or loser
  4. The victim can defend himself and does not suffer any (permanent) or mental damage



  • There is a system or regularity to bullying
  • The balance of power is unequal
  • The bully is the winner or is perceived as such
  • The bullied is the loser or is perceived as such
  • The victim is no longer allowed or able to stand up for himself and suffers (permanent) physical and/or mental damage


Bullying; the cold numbers

  • Research has shown that one in five students in primary education and one in six students in secondary education bully other classmates or peers.
  • Real bullies are four times as likely to end up in criminal circles later on
  • About 500,000 children are bullied several times a week. The majority of them go to primary education. Bullying also occurs in secondary education.
  • Children who are bullied between the ages of 0 and 5 often continue to suffer from this for the rest of their lives.
  • But bullying is also a major problem among adults. One in ten adults is bullied in the workplace to the point of being terrified. In addition, three out of ten adults are regularly bullied.


Why is one child bullied and another not?

Every child can become a victim of bullying. Yet children who are somewhat different from others are particularly at risk. They are often sensitive children and unfortunately children who have been the scapegoat before are more likely to be bullied again. A child is different if he or she does not meet the norm within a group. If everyone is macho and there is a boy walking around who is a bit more feminine, then there is a good chance that he is screwed. If the culture among girls is very Barbie-like and there is a girl walking around who looks more like a boy, then there is a good chance that she will become the target of bullying.

Children who are bullied the most

Children who are bullied the most are:

  • Children who are not good at sports
  • Gifted children
  • Children who are not very good at keeping up
  • Children moving from the city to the countryside
  • Children moving from the countryside to the city
  • Children who do not dress as prevailing fashion dictates
  • Children with a different or special religion


Sensitive children are much more likely to be bullied

Children who are bullied are generally extremely sensitive. They are not or not very resilient and this is immediately picked up by bullies.

Stand up and fight back really doesn’t work for bullying

For a long time it was thought that if you tell a child who is being bullied long enough to hit back, the problem will be solved. It must be clear that this advice does not work, because the child has not been able to do this up to that point and, moreover, it does not tackle the problem. The bully’s behavior must be addressed, but this is only possible if the group dynamics also change. If the group starts carrying a child who is being bullied, the bully’s position of power has disappeared and it therefore no longer makes sense for the bully to bully. Because that power is what he or she is after, even if this happens on an unconscious level.

When does a child become a bully?

It is a fact that certain children are more likely to be bullied. But it is also a fact that certain children become bullies much more quickly than others. This mainly has to do with the home situation. Many bullies have been emotionally neglected by their parents. Other reasons are:

  1. If a child at home regularly sees his father belittle or abuse his mother or vice versa, this becomes very normal behavior. The child copies the behavior and becomes a bully.
  2. If the child does not receive enough attention at home, there is a greater chance that such a child will harass others
  3. Children who are not corrected for their aggression by their parents are much more likely to become bullies.
  4. Children who are hit themselves are also more likely to become bullies later.
  5. But children who have been bullied themselves are also at risk of becoming perpetrators themselves. To prevent them from becoming victims again, they start harassing others themselves.
  6. A child’s genes also play a role. One child has more empathy than the other. What we regard as conscience is not self-evident. Empathy is not present in everyone to the same extent. The conscience must be nourished, there must be people who indicate what is possible and what is not. If a child who has little empathy for himself or herself has no other person around who does this, a bully can quickly develop.
  7. Psychological problems of the child. The death of a parent, the separation of father and mother or other matters can cause a child to feel completely stressed.
  8. The influence of TV and video games cannot be underestimated. The aggression exhibited there encourages vulnerable children to violence and bullying.
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